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goldengua

PhD in Linguistics or MSc in CompLing

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Hi, I just got a PhD offer in Linguistics at University of Kansas and MSc in computational linguistics at Brandeis University. I am an undergraduate in linguistics with some trainings in computer science, and I am interested in computational psycholinguistics.

The PhD program at Kansas University is great, good supervisor and funding package. However, I am attracted to both psycholinguistics and computational linguistics and KU only has psycholinguistic track.  

While I am still waiting for a few master program in computational linguistics, I was wondering if a master program in computational linguistics will give a good preparation for PhD application next year. I think it is always good to learn some programming and statistics, and it might bring a job in the industry. I am just concerned that what if I find myself more suitable for linguistic research but cannot get an offer as good as KU in the future?

I really appreciate any advice! Thanks so much.

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I know nothing about linguistics, but finding a good supervisor with a good funding package for a PhD program sounds better than doing a masters program and then trying again.  You can always learn computer skills on the side and try to integrate it into your research!

Brandeis sounds like a cool place to study though (I'd rather live in Boston than Kansas).

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Hmm, I would actually personally disagree with the above. I think that learning computer 'skills' on the side in this sense is kind of difficult. It's not as simple as just learning to code or something; it's about integrating computer science principles into the work that you do in linguistics, and that's more difficult if you don't have any basic computer science background of your own. While it is possible to do that without faculty support, it's a lot easier if there's some kind of infrastructure there for you. I guess a lot of it depends upon how independent you are, and how easy it is for you to teach yourself new things. Is there the potential to have a computer science professor as a secondary advisor, who can help you?

Usually, I would agree that it's not a great idea to pay for a master's if you've gotten into a PhD program. But in certain cases, it could be.

I will admit that I am heavily biased by my perceptions of the usefulness of each area in the industry. I work in the technology industry, and computational linguistics is BIG right now, given all the competing personal assistants trying to get better and better to claim the biggest market share.

Do you have any professors in your undergrad who do computational linguistics work? ask them what your prospects would look like after an MS at Brandeis. Also, how much would you have to pay?

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Hi, sorry for jumping in really late here. I'm a student in the CLMS program at Brandeis and will be applying to PhD programs in the fall. If you're still deciding between offers, feel free to DM me and I'd be happy to give my advice/experiences. 

Edited by ebs

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